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Martin Damen’s OneOak collection

posted on October 5, 2012
freeform spoon collection by Martin Damen

freeform spoon collection by Martin Damen

Martin Damen has been busy making a large number of spoons and some pendants from the remaining OneOak timber.

The entire OneOak collection can be seen on Martin Damen’s website, and some of these will be for sale at our forthcoming exhibition at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (read more).

 

Category: OneOak project, Wood

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Story of OneOak comes to life at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

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RBGE OneOak exhibition October 12th-December 2nd

One week today our finale exhibition of the OneOak project opens at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, where it will run for six weeks from October 12th to December 2nd.

A joint press release has been prepared with RBGE, an extract from which is included below.


Press Release

OneOak exhibition at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh 2012

OneOak exhibition at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh: October 12th to December 2nd 2012

The creative results of an innovative project following the full life story of a single oak tree is set to inspire visitors to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE), from October 12 to December 2. Created by the Sylva Foundation, in partnership with artists and craftsmen from throughout Britain, the OneOak exhibition features some 50 items, ranging from a throne chair to tables, benches and wood block prints. All have been created with timbers from a 222-year-old oak tree felled on Blenheim Estate, near Oxford.

From the outset, the incentive of the Sylva Foundation has been to bring people closer to the importance of woodlands and of wood in modern society. With this in mind, the felling, in January 2010, was witnessed by 250 school children and 200 other guests. A year later they were invited back to each plant a young oak, so fulfilling a cycle of sustainable forest management.

The tree was grown initially for its timber, being planted in 1788; the year The Times was first published, when Mozart was working on his last symphony and when the French Revolution was just beginning to stir. It became the most studied oak tree in Britain: it has been weighed, measured with lasers to create a 3D model, studied by a dendrochronologist, and had its carbon content estimated. It has also been featured by dozens of artists, sculptors and photographers. Now, it is being brought to Edinburgh thanks to funding from the Scottish Forestry Trust.

Chief Executive of the Sylva Foundation and project co-ordinator Dr Gabriel Hemery said:

“This has been an amazing project that has inspired both the public and those who make a living working with wood and caring for our woodlands. Everyone has given their time to the project in so many different ways because they have been inspired by the concept: the realisation that trees and wood are still vital to life even in modern society.”

Dr Hemery continued:

“After three years of hard work it has been immensely exciting to be able to bring together all the various elements of the OneOak project. We are able to show the public the stunning artwork, spell-binding films, earth-shattering science and a myriad of truly amazing wood-based products. The only products that we haven’t been able include in real life in the exhibition at RBGE will be a house and a boat!”

Reflecting on the harmony between the origins of OneOak project and the work of RBGE, Exhibitions Officer Elinor Gallant, commented:

“This is quite a remarkable exhibition detailing the lifecycle of an iconic tree. It is a story which links well with our experiences as a botanic garden and with our policy of communicating about the environment at every level. Having hosted two particularly well received drop-in sessions bringing insight to the project, back in January 2011, it makes absolute sense for RBGE to present the full exhibition. I am certain visitors of all ages will be delighted by both the beauty of the wood and the story behind why and how these remarkable pieces have come to be on display.”

download the full Press ReleaseDownload the full Press Release


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The OneOak smoke-fired Metamorphosis III

posted on October 3, 2012

The second of our ceramic pieces made from offcuts from the OneOak wood has arrived safely at Sylva in readiness for our exhibition at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Complimenting the OneOak jug made by Stephen Parry, this piece was made by Deana Lee and is called Metamorphosis III.

The piece measures 38cm high, and 26cm wide and deep, and its name is rather apt given that the tree has been changed into many different forms. It was made from Porcelain mixed with T-material.

Deana explained the making process:

I actually started making Metamorphosis III at Art in Action 2012 and completed it back at my studio in Wandsworth. After the form was finished it is burnished several times using pebbles and then finally using the back of a metal spoon. The reason for this is twofold – by compacting the clay and polishing the surface the minute detail of the smoke decorating is allowed to shine through, and it also makes the art extremely tactile (I encourage people to touch my work).  Then a layer of terra sigillata (a fine liquid form of the clay) is painted on and artwork is allowed to completely dry (takes several weeks).
Once the piece was dry it was low fired to 900ºC in my electric kiln before being taken to my smoke firing studio which is located in the middle of Wimbledon Common.  Once there I dressed the sculpture in various organic and non organic items such as wire wool, copper, banana skins etc and then it was placed in to a metal drum, on a bed of the OneOak Project sawdust along with various oxides and salt which will add subtle colour to the art.  Hay is placed around and on top of the work, along with oxides and salt, and then finally a layer of newspaper, kindling and offscuts from the OneOak Project are placed ontop and the whole tin set on fire and allowed to burn. After about 7 hours I left it to smoulder, going back the following day to unveil the sculpture, wash off the ash and polish it with beeswax (it is like wood and every so often needs to be polished with beeswax in order to bring the patterns out).”

More about Deana Lee

After a career in marketing which spanned the globe, Deana decided to follow her passion for sculpting and ceramics and returned to the U.K. to study 3D Design specialising in Ceramics at the Richmond School of Art.  After graduating she was one of 39 emerging artists to be selected for the Chinese Arts Centre’s Professional Artist Development Scheme, through which she received a training bursary as well as a mentoring grant.  In 2011 she was one of six international finalists for Potclays Emerging Makers Award 2011, and recently was shortlisted for BBC Two’s programme “Show Me The Monet.”

Each sculpture that she creates is inspired by her passions; the natural world and travel. Her organic, smoke fired artwork has strong forms and several facets and all are highly burnished as this results in extremely tactile shapes and allows the detail of the smoke pattern to shine through – her pieces are meant to be touched!

Deana says “As far back as I can remember I have always been drawn to the ancient method of smoke firing and how the smoke and flames paint designs on the ceramic canvas. I have taken these ancient processes and use them in a more contemporary way to create unique effects that have depth and fluidity. Of course a considerable amount of planning goes into the decoration design of each piece, but by using smoke firing techniques there is also a significant element left to chance. For me that sense of surprise is definitely a large part of the attraction, especially as my final forms tend to be very controlled.”

Her work is in private collections around the world, and she specialises in creating works of art for specific spaces or people, incorporating some of their world (in the form of sand from their travels or gardens etc) in to the clay body.

Deana Lee ceramics


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OneOak ceramic jug

posted on October 2, 2012
OneOak ceramic jug

OneOak ceramic jug by Stephen Parry

The latest in our final few items made using OneOak wood, all of them from offcuts, has been completed by potter Stephen Parry.

For as long as potters have made high fired ‘stoneware'( firings of over 1200°C), wood-ash has been used as a glaze, on it’s own or as one of a number of materials combined to make a glaze ‘recipe’. The first ash glazed pottery is thought to have been made in China during the Shang period (1500 BC ) These pots were most likely glazed accidentally, when the wood-ash from stoking the kiln landed on the pots, melting onto the surface of the clay forming a runny glaze. It is rare now for a potter to use wood-ash as a glaze on its own, but it is often used as a major component in a glaze recipe. Wood-ash glazes are know for there fluid surfaces and there subtle green to blue colour. Each species of tree will give a different glaze, even the same tree grown on a different soil type will  give a subtly different glaze.

To make a simple ash glaze  the wood-ash is first washed to remove the soluble alkalis,(this is a strong and unpredictable flux) and then sieved to remove all the course particles, with would give a rough surface to the glaze. The ash is then dried so that it can be weighed to make a glaze recipe. A simple ash glaze recipe could be: 40% wood-ash, 40% potash feldspar and 20% clay.

Less than a week ago Stephen told us that:

“I spent yesterday firing my wood-fired kiln with the pot, glazed in ‘one oak’ ash. It should be cool enough to open tomorrow (Friday 26th). It is a risky unpredictable process! – puts a whole new meaning to ‘keeping your fingers crossed’. So I won’t know if it is worth sending until tomorrow.”

He continued “After some consideration I decided to go for the interest value rather that the more predictable – So I have glazed my pot (Jug) with 100% ‘OneOak’ ash, rather than making a more conventional glaze out of the ash. I hope it works.”

The resulting jug did indeed ‘work’ and is stunning, having arrived at Sylva in readiness for our next exhibition. Stephen explained that it is a stoneware Jug 50cm high, wood-fired to 1300ºc with 100% ‘OneOak’ ash glaze. He added:

“Well, it came out better than I could have dreamt – that old oak tree must have got something special. Everything that you see on the jug is from the ‘OneOak’ only.”

The OneOak jug will be on display with all other OneOak pieces at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh from October 12th – December 2nd.

More about Stephen Parry

Stephen has been living and working in North Norfolk since 1981, where he set up Ryburgh Pottery. Most of his work is thrown using high temperature stoneware and porcelain clays, fired in a variety of wood fired kilns, sometimes firing to well over 1300ºC for up to four days.

He makes a small amount of pots for use in the kitchen, although most of his work is more individual, made in small batches, using soft clay and thick Slips.

Some pots are left unglazed, allowing the wood ash that enters the kiln during the long firings to glaze and colour the work,  he also uses wood-ash glazes including Oak, Apple and Pine ash.

As well as the UK he has also exhibited work in France, Germany Denmark and Japan. He is a Fellow member of the Craft Potters Association.

Stephen Parry:  wood-fired ceramics

Category: OneOak project, Wood

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OneOak moebius sculpture

posted on October 1, 2012
Richard Fox sculpture trefoil moebius

Richard Fox sculpture trefoil moebius

Richard Fox’s completed OneOak moebius sculpture.

The piece will be on display, and for sale, at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh from 12th October.

Richard Fox Sculpture

Category: OneOak project, Wood

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OneOak viola chinrest

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The latest new OneOak product,crafted from offcuts, has been completed by Master violin maker Marc Soubeyran.

Marc used an offcut (leftover piece) from another OneOak maker, Waywood Furniture, to make a chinrest for a viola. During the OneOak exhibition at Art in Action in July, Marc put the finishing touches to the chinrest using tiny woodworking tools. The chinrest has gone appropriately to violin and viola player Anna Hemery, who composed the OneOak music and played in the ‘OneOak trio’ (the music is available on the homepage).

Marc Soubeyran’s website

Category: OneOak project, Wood
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New OneOak makers use the last remaining offcuts

posted on September 27, 2012

The OneOak project is now nearing completion, as we prepare to move our exhibition from Blenheim Palace, where it has been since late July, to Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (opening October 12th). While all our original makers completed their work in readiness for our Summer exhibitions, a few additional makers have approached us, all keen to use the very last few bits of offcuts to make a few more precious items from the OneOak timber.

We will be adding stories about these products and the makers over the next few days. Expect some surprising items!

 

 

Category: News, OneOak project, Wood

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The colours of Sylva watercolour course

posted on August 2, 2012
Sylva watercolour course flier - download

download flier

Watercolour Artist Rebecca Hind is holding a one day masterclass called The Colours of Sylva. It will be held in the stunning surroundings of the Blenheim Estate on 1st September. The course will focus on watercolour painting of the beautiful trees.

the old couple by Rebecca Hind

The old couple by Rebecca Hind. Two veteran oaks at Blenheim.

Read more and find out how to book

Category: Art, OneOak project

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OneOak exhibition opens at Blenheim Palace

posted on July 25, 2012

OneOak Blenheim Exhibition – 25th July to 4th October

The OneOak Exhibition, telling the full life story of one oak tree, will be on display in the Pleasure Gardens at Blenheim Palace between 25th July to 4th October.

OneOak Exhibition photomontage banner 2012

In January 2010 a 222 year old oak tree, growing in woodland on the Blenheim Palace Estate, was felled for its timber. It was donated to the Sylva Foundation by the Palace as the focus for an education project, aiming to bring people closer to the growing of trees for wood.

The OneOak tree is now one of the most scientifically studied trees in Britain. It has also inspired artists, craftspeople, film makers and musicians. Its timber is being used to make a huge array of wooden products: beams in buildings, the hull of a ship and fine furniture, plus everyday items and energy to heat homes. The legendary chef Raymond Blanc has used oak wood chippings from the tree to smoke salmon at Le Manoir aux Quat’saisons.

A year after the OneOak tree felling 250 local school children, all of whom had witnessed its death, returned to the woodland to each plant an oak tree to create a new oak forest.

During 2010 and 2011 a series of exhibitions and events, telling the stories behind the project, has attracted thousands of visitors. In a final major touring exhibition during 2012, items made from OneOak tree’s seasoned wood by some of Britain’s best furniture makers, joiners, artists and craftspeople, are being displayed in a unique collection.

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace - visitor information

Visitors will also see drawings, prints and photographs, together with information and films about the tree’s history and the people involved, who have all come together to show why growing trees for wood is vitally important for humans and beneficial for the environment.

Find out more from the Blenheim Palace website


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OneOak news release – One oak tree: Forty gifts to life

posted on July 17, 2012

A unique project following the full life story of a single oak tree reaches a finale this week, with the first of a series of manor exhibitions at Art in Action, where all the items made from the tree are being brought together for the first time. The products range from the waste sawdust used by legendary chef Raymond Blanc to smoke salmon, to a throne chair worth £6000, and dozens of other items including charcoal, wood block prints, tables, benches, door, house, boat, and woodchip for bioenergy.

  • The OneOak project is an environmental project of the Sylva Foundation, following the full life story of one oak tree.
  • The aim of the project is to bring people closer to the importance of our woodlands and of wood in modern society.
  • The 222 year old OneOak tree was felled on the Blenheim Estate in January 2010, witnessed by 250 school children. It had been grown in a plantation for its timber, having been planted in 1788; the same year that The Times was first published and when the French Revolution was just beginning to stir.
  • The OneOak tree is now the most studied oak tree in Britain: it has been weighed, measured with lasers to create a 3D model, studied by a dendrochronologist, and had its carbon content estimated.
  • It has been featured by dozens of artists, sculptors and photographers.
  • Many of Britain’s leading designer-makers have made items using the wood of the OneOak tree. These total over 40 different products, and counting.
  • The 250 children who witnessed the felling each planted a young oak tree in January 2011, one year after the tree was felled, to fulfil the cycle in sustainable forest management.
  • The first exhibition is at Art in Action, followed by six weeks at Blenheim Palace, then six weeks at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

 

Chief Executive of the Sylva Foundation and project co-ordinator Dr Gabriel Hemery said “this has been an amazing project that has inspired both the public and those who make a living working with wood and caring for our woodlands. Everyone has given their time to the project in so many different ways because they have been inspired by the concept:- the realisation that trees and wood are still vital to life even in modern society.”

Dr Hemery continued “after three years of hard work it is immensely exciting to be bringing together all the various elements of the OneOak project for our exhibitions during the Summer and Autumn. We will be able to show the public the stunning artwork, spell-binding films, earth-shattering science, and the myriad of truly amazing wood-based products. The only products that we won’t be able include in real life in the exhibitions will be the house and the boat!”

The OneOak exhibition at Art in Action is replacing the usual ‘Woodworking’ section; the marquee will be filled uniquely with all the products of the OneOak tree. Artists, musicians, sculptors and designer-makers will be on-hand to talk and demonstrate about their work in the OneOak project. Some 25,000 people are expected to attend over the four days, and where special measures have been put in place to cope with the soggy ground.  See note from Art in Action

The following have been made to date: firewood, woodchip (to heat a house for 6 weeks), sawdust for smoking food by Raymond Blanc, charcoal, bracing beams for a house, transom beam in a boat rowed in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Flotilla, door and frame, chest, pedestal table, coffee table, throne chair, clock, lantern, moebius sculpture, jewellery, acorn oakbot sculpture from waste slabwood, memorial sculpture, carved bowls, carved spoons, turned bowls, carvings, automata, commemorative garden bench by disabled workers, five benches for primary schools including the spider bench, contemplation bench, MakeIT! bench national school design competition, nesting tables, fine furniture competition winners pieces, small craft items, deer, viola chin rest, printing blocks, relief carving, sounding bowl.

Details of the OneOak products along with the stories of their making can be found here: www.oneoak.info/wood_products.php

The project website is www.OneOak.info

Exhibition dates:

Art in Action, Waterperry                             19th – 22nd July 2012                      Art in Action

Blenheim Palace                                               25th July – 4th October                  OneOak at Blenheim Palace

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh               12th October – 2nd December    Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh


More information

download the full News Release

download the full News Release

Download the full News Release

 

end of News Release


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